Higgins may retire to take a position at Delaware North

Sources say that Rep. Brian Higgins is contemplating retirement.

Rumor has it that Rep. Brian Higgins, the six-term Democrat of South Buffalo, is “inclined to prefer” taking a position as Delaware North‘s top federal lobbyist, rather than to run for a seventh term in the House of Representatives, a source familiar with his thinking tells The Chronicle.

Delaware North is preparing to redouble its efforts to acquire new operating contracts at National Parks, National Forests, and recreation areas.  The firm also intends to enter the world of sports gaming in a robust way, but that may be a matter of State jurisdiction and the firm’s General Counsel, William Hochul, largely handles the firm’s affairs with the Cuomo administration.

Brian Higgins’ relationships in Washington could help to evolve Delaware North’s relationship with the federal government.

It’s likely that Higgins would be permanently based in Washington, DC and carry the title of Senior Vice President for Government Relations.  Observers say that such a position could fetch the congressman a $400,000 salary.

Buffalo businessman Eddie Egriu is planning to challenge Higgins in next year’s Democratic Party primary, and State Senator Chris Jacobs is widely thought to be considering the race.

A vacancy in that district would be likely to attract a slew of Democrats, including Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, State Senator Tim Kennedy, Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa, Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski, and Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray.

If Higgins retires immediately, it would trigger a special election that would be scheduled sometime in the next several months.

State Senator Chris Jacobs has fundraised $750,000 to run against Rep. Chris Collins, who faces criminal insider trading charges.

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